Part 2: Are Inter-State Conflicts Going Extinct?

How did Nigeria get here?

So how was this possible, and how can Nigeria adapt? First, proper warfare discussions necessitate clear definitions. Conventional warfare was perfected in the Second World War, and is best described as a conflict between at least two states, in which uniformed soldiers, tanks, artillery, and aircraft are maneuvered to defeat and destroy adversary troops and weapon systems.

These conventional operations are intended to maximize capture of enemy territory, which can then be later annexed or utilized as a bargaining chip in negotiations. Nonetheless, conventional warfare has become a lifeless entity. State and none state actors are pursuing alternative forms of war, such as the use of proxy armies to attain their objective.

Nigeria is severely lacking in this regard. Take the Boko Haram insurgency for instance.  While the Boko Haram conflict might have been home grown, the end product chronic poverty in northern Nigeria brought about by corruption on a scale that is without precedent in human history.

The conflict has nontheless been exploited by rival regional player in the attainment of their strategic goal. The bad news for Nigeria is that there is now a greater range of threat actors now than was the case ten years ago, and they have improved on their own military or militant capability. They have in a short time eclipsed the Middle East as the region with the most Reaper Drone bases on earth.

While Inter-communal grievances are in no short supply in Nigeria, I there are really no chronological build up to these events. They spring up out of the blue, suggesting external factors at play. What Nigeria should also start worrying about is the effect of climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Nigeria spans more than 1,000km from a lush and tropical south to the fringes of the Sahara Desert in the north. And, in Nigeria, the Sahara is moving southward at a rate of 600 metres a year. At the same time, Lake Chad in the country’s far north-east has largely dried up.

in-photos-chad-body-image-1431716889(2).jpg
The shrinking Lake Chad has been a source of conflict between Nigeria and Chad.

Fulani herdsmen who use to rely on the lake before, have moved further south in search of pasture and water f use across the Sahel, and the Fulanis do have a history of strategic annexation of territories. What’s new this time round is that the conflict has taken on an entirely different scale, as a problem once restricted to the north of Nigeria has become a major issue in the country’s south.or their livestock. The further south you move, the more the population becomes Christian, hence when resource conflicts emerge they appear religious.

Such conflicts between herdsmen and farmers aren’t entirely new. A drought in the late 60s, for instance, kicked off struggles over land. This is because environmental devastation has necessitated widespread migration of Fulanis from all over West Africa to the south of Nigeria, which has been unable to prevent nomads from other countries from coming in along its long borders.

The influx of new people has disrupted the existing dynamics and relationship between predominantly farming local communities and nomadic herdsmen. Lets not forget Nigeria’s war with Chad (allbeit on a limited scale) in 1983 was as a result of the receding Lake Chad. These factors are exploited by clever non state actors, who take full advantage of Nigeria’s complex social and ethnic make up. All they need do is light the fuse on fire and sit back and allow events play itself out. Why waste resoucres going to war when you can destroy the country from within without soiling your hands?

But of course, the malicious activities of rival geopolitical rivals are largely ignored in favour of talk of ethnic or religious conflict. Such talk quickly becomes highly emotive, preventing a full analysis of all the external driving forces behind the conflict, resulting in the time honoured Divide & Conquer tactics used by the powers that be.

Stretched thin

The number of threats Nigeria has had to contend with and the tempo of operation the Nigerian military has had to sustain for 20 years will break the back of most countries. Embroiled in several internal conflicts the Nigerian army is stretched too thin. Nigeria’s decision to increase the size of its armed forces from 150,000 to 200,000 men by 2019 is not unconnected to the tactical reality that the military is overstreatched. Take an indept look at the conflicts Nigeria has had to contend with in recent times and you see a pattern.

NIGER DELTA

A decade before the Boko Haram guys started blowing things up, Niger Delta militants started blowing things up. Attacks by several militant groups on oil infrastructure cut Nigeria’s oil production levels from 2m to about 1.4m barrels a day at one point, sending the oil-dependent economy into a recession.

The Ya’ardua adminstrationtried a two-pronged approach of sending the army after the militants but also offering to talk. Yet the attacks on pipelines continue. Then the Nigerian government went scorched earth on the militants by going in hard.

This period coincided with the reignition of tensions with Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsular. The Bakassi issue was an irritant to the government, with the nations economic lifeline under threat and oil production cut by more than %50, leading to the flight of major oil companies over security issues, the loss Bakassi and mistreatment of Nigerian settlers at the hands of the gendarmes was a very small price to pay.

The army’s scorched earth approach, that saw thousands dead finally led a ceasation of attacks by Niger Delta militants, and brought about by the Amnesty Deal was a welcome development. Within a year oil production was back to full capacity. This peace however was shortlived.

BOKO HARAM

Before Boko Haram burst into the scene in spectacular fashion with the Bombing of the United Nations HQ in Abuja and attacks on Police Stations. At its peak Boko Haram controlled an area the size of Belguim. The Boko Haram was a knew kind of enemy, the likes of which Nigeria had never encountered. An enemy that kept staging miraculous comebacks at the edge of defeat.

It didn’t take long for Boko Haram to eclipse ISIS as the deadliest terrorist group on the planet. No surprirs this coincided with the decision of the United States and France to cripple the Nigerian army by blocking weapons sales to Nigeria and baring others from doing the same. The Obama administration took it a step further with the announcement the United States would stop buying crude from Nigeria, sending the Nigerian economy an economic recession not seen in 35 years. Then came EBOLA.

In the midst of this chaos pundits did not give Nigeria a chance in surving this. The Ebola threat spurred Nigeria into action. The Nigerian government basically kicked out the American CDC and created a War Room to contain nd stop the spread of Ebola.

Miraculously the nation was able to unilaterally stop the Ebola virus and hold peaceful elections that culmilated in Nigeria’s first peaceful transfer of power via a democratic process. The war against Boko Haram gathered steam and within a year all hitherto lost territories were retaken by the Nigerian army.

Within two years Boko Haram was finally pushed out of the Sambisa forest, and after nearly a decade of war and the death of 30,000 Nigerians and billions in damage to the already dilapiitated infrastructure in poverty stricken northeast, the Nigerian army has made giant strides against Boko Haram.

 

IPOB (BAKASSI)

Agitations for a return of the Republic of Biafra, a section of Nigeria’s south-east that broke away in 1967 and was reabsorbed three years later after a ruinous civil war — have been simmering for years. They boiled over after President Muhammadu Buhari took office last year, with a series of protests in south-eastern cities. Separatist groups complain they are not treated fairly by the federal government.

The arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, an activist who operated a radio station that acted as a mouthpiece of Biafra agitators, intensified the rallies. The discontent appeared to reach a peak in May when clashes between protesters and the military in the city of Onitsha led to at least 40 deaths, according to Amnesty International.

In 2016 a French documentary in conjuction with a Human Rights group that potryaed the Nigerian givernment in a negative light and accusing soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians. with subtle support for IPOB was aired, prompting the Federal government to issue a stern protest over what it called French interference in the internal affiars of Nigeria.

SHIA ISLAMIC SECT

This is a group supported by Iran. In the north, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, a Shia group, is protesting against the detention of its leader, who was captured after a battle with the army last year that killed more than 300 sect members. Those protests turned violent in October, leading to the deaths of 10 people and raising fears that supporters could take up arms again.

NOMADIC HERDERS AND FARMERS

Nigerians have been farming for centuries. Nomadic cattle herders from the arid north have been migrating south for land to graze on for a similar period of time. The groups often coexist without conflict. But a series of clashes between the two groups this year has raised tensions in the countryside.

Farmers, who are often Christians, complain cattle trample their crops and herdsmen attack them in their field. Herdsmen, many of whom are Muslim, say farmers attack them. Reasons for the clashes vary, but they have left dozens dead in the country’s southern half. Soon it will lead to the type of tit-for-tat Muslim-Christian killings you see in other parts of Africa. like the Central African Republic, for example, a French colony that would be another spiralling crisis. There’s precedence for that in the region and little precedence for solutions. There is not a single Francophone economically prosperous exheadlineImage.adapt.1460.high.boko_haram_chad_04feb2015.1423087588757.jpg French colony in Africa

Nigerians have been farming for centuries. Nomadic cattle herders from the arid north have been migrating south for land to graze on for a similar period of time. The groups often coexist without conflict. But a series of clashes between the two groups this year has raised tensions in the countryside.

Farmers, who are often Christians, complain cattle trample their crops and herdsmen attack them in their field. Herdsmen, many of whom are Muslim, say farmers attack them. Reasons for the clashes vary, but they have left dozens dead in the country’s southern half.

No nation in the world can survive this level of sustained crises year in year out for nearly two decades. That Nigeria still manages to function bears testament to the fact that there is more that unites Nigerians than divides them. Nigerians generally are averse to war, contrary to the narrative pushed by the West. The powers that be keeps pushing WAR down the throat of Nigerians, and Nigerians are not falling for the trap despite the constant provocations.

The dominance of the “ethnic war” narrative in a country that is a mix of cultures and religion blinds Nigerians to the true architects of these conflicts. Its a cleverly crafted Maskirova by external players that’s designed to stretched Nigeria to breaking point, putting national unity and peace building beyond reach for the nation.

Nigeria is encircled by hostile powers. No amount of appeasement will dissuade these powers from carrying out their strategic re-balancing in the region. Not by military power but by propaganda and diplomatic maneuvering. It is no mistake French investment in Nigeria is greater than in all Francophone countries combined.

Resource starving France, together with the starving ex colonies it has pillaged tarries around Nigeria like a vulture. They prod and probe and probe until they find Nigeria’s weakest link. And when they find Nigeria’s weakest link they begin to drop on that like water dripping on a rock. Then they work at it, and work on it, until cracks begin to appear.

That weak link is division along ethnic and religious lines. Nigeria had better strenghten that link, because the France together with her puppets are there to break it. Its high time Nigeria starts using the full range of her diplomatic and economic leverage to pursue her national interest. Countries in the region do not realize that Nigeria’s capital, technology and access to a consumer market of 200 million people is a gift and not a right, until its taken away.

 

 

 

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One Reply to “Part 2: Are Inter-State Conflicts Going Extinct?”

  1. very thoughtful would really like to work with you….to me it appear as if Abuja is doing nothing in regards to the immersing threat around it’s border

    Liked by 1 person

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